Jordanian blogger Firas recently raised a very important issue on his blog. He drew the attention to the fact that that bloggers contributing to Jordan Planet rarely talk about political issues. He has a point. Any frequent visitor to the site will notice how political issues are the topics least discussed on the site. If you compare the Jordanian blogging community to other Arab blogging communities, such as the Lebanese or Egyptians, you’ll notice a striking difference in the nature of topics discussed. While political posts dominate the majority of topics discussed among other Arab bloggers, Jordanian bloggers prefer to talk primarily about technical, social and personal issues.
What’s the reason for that I wonder? Is it because Jordan is seen as politically stable nation in comparison to other countries in the region such that politics doesn’t play a major part in the daily lives of Jordanian bloggers?
Or is it because Jordanians fear to tread into the political arena where they might criticize the government — something the majority of them fear to do? Or is it due to the fact that the majority of Jordanian bloggers reveal their identities, which has to make them think twice before discussing daring topics?
I believe the main reason is the fact that when growing up, we were never encouraged to speak up and express our opinions. Fear and self censorship will follow us wherever we go and whatever we do. Even though are we living in a fairly transparent era, making daring comments or expressing our unorthodox opinions without worrying about consequences still seems like a far-fetched notion to many. Maybe my analysis is flawed and I’m just being paranoid but really … why is politics absent from Jordan Planet?
From the Jordanian Blogosphere
The hottest topic this week on the Jordanian blogosphere is regarding the lack of political blogs on portal Jordan Planet. Firas of IHeartAmman claims that You know something is wrong when bloggers are neglecting local political issues. …
C’mon Firas, I think that you are pushing it here a little too much with your statement above!. First of all, who said that a democratic government doesn’t provide security? Most of the democracies around the world that I’m aware of their presence seem to be very secure to me !? Secondly, Who said that civil liberties have to be sacrificed in exchange for security?! If there are people out there willing to sacrifice their liberty at the expense of receiving their security, then this kind of people people deserve none. Finally, the political system in Jordan is well defined and it has been that way since its inception. Monarchy is a hereditary system where the power passes on from the father to so and so on and so forth. The citizens of the country appear to be supportive of the existing system, ostentatious expressions of loyalties to the Hashemite dynasty are abound. Political parties in Jordan are very disorganized and very ineffective.So in essence, there isn’t really that much politics to be discussed about Jordan unless the discussant wants to address the parliament, and the ministers.
Now have we asked ourselves, what has caused this Lack of interest? It was generated by the oppression and fear imposed. It is as simple as that.
Now, Jordanian youths are given the chance to express themselves, I mean if you can’t get involved in any political group at your university, then the wonder of technologies give you the opportunity to do so. But bloggers are smart enough to realize that they would get in trouble. It’s not fear, but rather avoiding trouble. I mean the youth is very politically aware, and involved in politics, mostly the students, but they do it at home, so there is no real lack of interest.
Why it is that Jordanian student are very active in political groups in universities outside Jordan?
C’mon there is no real political life in Jordan, it is rather some Mickey mouse parties wagging the tail to the government, or some islamists who want to turn Jordan into a Taliban-Afghanistan. Most media outlets are Pro-government.
I think the issue goes much deeper than this; it seems we are inclined to accept authoritarianism, rather a democratic government that does not provide security, even if this was on the expense of our civil liberties.
PS: Natasha, good job on hijacking the post
I think that I agree with Iyas.. never the less there are always issues to talk about.. for example the debate on the new election system, and the National Agenda Committee outcomes.. and how will changing the Voting and election systems effect policy in Jordan, the new/different types of parliament members we will have… about price hikes.. about current gov achievements, and what we hope for.. and so on..
I don’t think that fear of speaking up is part of the reason that we don’t see much politics in the Jordanian Blog sphere, it is rather lack of interest, or maybe the complete give-up on politics from the youth in general.
Linda, you just hang in there. I’m not one bit Jordanian (well, maybe in attitude now and then)and will say my bit wherever.
I’d like to see bloggers not just write about it more but get involved. As I have complained about to Natasha, Haithim and Roba…there is a lot of reporting and complaining going on but not much action.
This generation of Jodanians and Palestinians has a unique perspective on the world and I think some of you need to be thinking about being a part of creating a new, corruption free political future for the region. Why not aim high?
When I was growing up the only thing I ever heard “adults” talk about in Jordan was politics. But as Iyas said, the youth seem less interested in politics these days. I think that most JP bloggers, including myself, are not worried about discussing politics; it’s mostly a lack of interest/desire in blogging about politics.
Personally, I went through my “online Jordanian political discussion group” phase several years ago, and stopped when I finished venting my thoughts, views, and opinions and became tired of it. I did not feel like getting into that again on my blog, and that’s why I avoid commenting on current events. I will, however, make my views clear if something “substantial” comes along.
I guess there is some kind of fear from approaching political issues, some might deny that. But i agree with Iyas, the Jordanian University scene is pathetic when it comes to politics..While i consider one’s university years as the most important period in forming a person’s political identity, and the chance to be involved while you are still young and bold…Its sad to see that many students in Jordan barely know the name of the prime minister of Jordan, and are too involved in minor personal issues. I remember i used to get depressed everytime i went back to Yarmouk after visiting friends at AUB, because that was when i realized the vast difference in the quality of the subjects discussed by students from AUB and students at Yarmouk. At AUB the whole atmosphere forces you (even if u were not lebanese) to participate and be involved in the political scene. At Yarmouk we were always busy figuring out who is going out with who, or discussing people’s reputations.
I would talk about Jordanian politics but some of the bloggers, ahem ^ told me I am not “really” Jordanian so I should not give my opinion on that stuff 😛
You know who you are!
I will agree with Iyas.
I don’t talk about politics not due to fear, and I was raised in such a way were speaking up was holy.
because the political system cleverly managed to reduce youth’s involvement in political life. look at the universities, besides the islamists, did you see any active political group? no! i am not saying there are not politically aware students, but they are inactive. in addition, Jordan’s situation is different than Egypt’s or Lebanon’s both of which have more pressing internal conflicts. Jordan certainly has its own issues but they are neither presidential elections nor assassinations. remember the aqaba bombings? there was a little bit more politically-oriented posts on JP because that was considered a more “serious” issue. plus there are a few Jordanian bloggers who talk more politics but are not represented on JP.